Saturday was all about downhill and while the weather improved it still proved to be a telling factor in the results. The rain stayed away and it made life a little easier for the riders, and photographers. Damian Breach pick 40 or so of his favourite shots from the day.
After the on-off, and sometimes heavy rain of the past few days, it was great to wake up to some rays of sunshine. Despite a few dark clouds, the day remained dry. But the track was still a mess in places and the whole day turned into a struggle to ride in sections. Today’s winner Rachel Atherton spent an eternity in the morning practice session studying the rock garden. It paid off for her. This is probably not the thing you would wan’t to be doing in the middle of a rock garden. The work it has taken to build a world class downhill track in the thick rain forest cannot go without recognition. Thanks to legend Glen Jacobs and his amazing crew we saw World Cup racing return to Australia. The fans were up early and slogged the super hard walk up the hill to get into place and support their favourite riders with noise. The noise come finals was incredible – too bad photos can’t make sounds to share the ear carnage. Your world is a spin in the middle of a crash. The alien tree section was an absolute sloppy mess and only a few were able to ride it without looking like a learner. Michael Jones from the UK made it looks easy though. The entry to the speed trap was a little drier today and that made life much better for the steep climb immediately following. The 5th member of the Beatles, Josh Bryceland, has been showing super form this season and we’re picking him to win round 3 at Fort William. Connor Fearon unfortunately wasn’t able to backup his top 10 qualifying run and finished off the pace. Standard rider-in-the-reflection-of-sunglasses shot. This little dog just wanted to watch the action but was carted off to a safer place. Australian for hydration pack. The crowd was huge, almost as huge as this boost. Yep, we can confirm, there are snakes in the rain forest. Some people just want the worst to happen. We however would never want anyone to land on their dick. That would hurt. We could probably think of other ways to help your fellow country person than wave a flag in their face just after a crashed. The conditions in some parts of the track were still crazy hard to stay on your bike. We owe this to USA rider Jill Kintner for singling her out for crashing yesterday. Tracey Hannah wasn’t able to use her local knowledge for any advantage but still managed a place on the podium in 5th spot. Aussie Lucas Dean had a tough time and his 51st place was not what he was hoping for. The conditions were just so though and results were all over the place. It was a hard race to predict. A whole lot of green……. and a little bit of blue. There was still one big mud puddle left and it’s probably going to be there next week too. The last bit of steep on the hill (leading into Ronning’s ramp) was all about body language and trying to hold your line. Glen Jacobs and his trail crew imagined some pretty crazy lines when they designed this part of the course however the rain held anyone off from going big. Maybe next time. Florent Payet of France get’s ready for the pedal of his life. This photo isn’t about the rider, it’s about those two young kids who are probably now hooked on downhill. Yay we say. It just hurts. Steve Peat of the UK got a red flag on his run and had to go back up the hill for a 2nd try. Steve shows us just how excited he was to do that all again. This is how much Australian Will Rischbieth missed out on qualifying by. Will was there watching and as always, with a smile on his face. Sam Hill returned to the podium with 5th place. Everyone loves Sam and the fans were going crazy for him. This bloke probably won’t wash that hand for a while. This photos shows Mick Hannah’s day. A crash, and now he’ll have to wait until 2016 to reach his dream of winning in his home town. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie….. Troy Brosnan flies the flag on his left arm and the fans fly the flag for him. The warm glow of Steve. The fans love him, and Flow does too. Gee Atherton crossed the line with the win and a return to the top spot after over a year off the winners prize. Who the f#$k would wear onesie in Cairns. His unicorn balls must have been very moist. Gee wins and Cairns wins for holding a great race. This is the face of a genuinely happy person. Neko landed on the podium for the first time and his 3rd place was written all over his smiling face. Aiden Varley come in 2nd in Juniors and being in on the podium on home soil to be inspiration for the rest of the season. Rachel Atherton enjoys something that’s way better than Red Bull. This shoes are not his. Gee ran flats and “borrowed” them off a local. We hope he returned them with something extra in them to say thanks. It did rain today, it rained champagne on the podium. (Thanks to Gary Perkin for the inspiration)